Brit feared dead in ISIS attack in Mozambique was ‘loveable rogue’ say family

The heartbroken relatives of a Brit feared killed in the Mozambique ISIS massacre have paid tribute to the “lovable rogue" and “much-loved son, brother, uncle and friend”.

Building contractor Phil Mawer, 44, tried to break through lines as gunmen opened fire on 17 vehicles and "beheaded 50 people" fleeing a hotel complex in Palma on Friday.

A statement issued by his employer RA International on behalf of his family said: “Philip was an ebullient, outgoing character who had something of the lovable rogue about him.

“He had a wonderful sense of humour and could be relied on to find a humorous take on the most difficult of situations.

“The family is devastated by the loss and he will be sadly missed. We would like to acknowledge the support we have received from friends, family and Philip’s colleagues in a period of tremendous anguish.”

It is believed Mr Mawer died while trying to escape from the siege of the Amarula Hotel.

He had been in the east African country for 18 months, managing the building of camps for workers involved in a large natural gas project.

The family statement said: “It was the nature of his chosen line of work to be in the more dangerous corners of the world and Philip’s career had previously taken him to Somalia, Sierra Leone, Algeria, Afghanistan and Yemen.

“His ability to get things done in the most hostile of environments made him a valued colleague.

“Earlier in his life, Philip overcame a period of compulsive gambling and went on to write the book Overcoming Problem Gambling: A Guide For Problem And Compulsive Gamblers, using his personal experience to help others to overcome this destructive addiction.

“He would often receive letters of thanks from people helped by the book.”

The family said they were waiting for formal identification of the body to be completed.

The insurgents are thought to have killed more than 2,000 people and displaced an estimated 670,000 during three years of fighting in the east African nation.

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It has emerged British ex-cop Nick Alexander sprang into action when a convoy bringing expats to safety was ambushed.

His daughter Jayde, 29, said he shot dead two militia while under fire then hid in the bush for two days.

The 50-something dad of five had been building camps for oil workers and was in the convoy’s last car.

He was one of four Brits rescued by a helicopter gunship, one of five owned by former Special Forces Colonel Lionel Dick, 77.

Jayde told The Times: "He saw the commotion with the ambush ahead and got out. There was a government vehicle with an AK-47 in it, so he broke in, got it and shot dead two al-Shababs.

"He and two others from the car then ran to hide into the bushes with the gun – they were literally crawling through the bush until they were rescued."

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