New details emerge on geologist who set herself on fire

03 August 2021 | Local News

TUYEIMO HAIDULA



OSHAKATI

A woman who police said committed suicide by setting herself alight in her shack and died on the spot on Friday reportedly resigned five years ago due to depression.

Aina Nelago Neema (35) allegedly burned herself to death with a substance suspected to be paraffin oil at Ondangwa’s Oluno location in the Oshana Region.

Oshana police crime investigation coordinator, deputy commissioner Hilja Haipumbu, said at the time of the incident, Neema was at home with her younger sister who saw smoke coming out of her outside shack and called for help.

Haipumbu said Neema also had an eight-month old baby, who died in June. The infant’s cause of death is unknown.

She added that Neema’s “long battle” with depression led to her job loss, and that she has been unemployed since resigning from a leading local diamond mining company over five years ago.

Her friends said she studied geology and was influenced to choose this field by former president Sam Nujoma, who encouraged women in particular to take up spaces in predominantly male fields.

She enrolled at the University of Namibia in 2003. Her friends remember her as a strong academician who loved field work and tough exercises.

“She was so caring and would always check up on her friends to see if they were fine. This is all very sad and one would really like to know how to spot when someone needs help and what the friends can do to assist.

“She resigned from work but [that she suffered from depression] wasn’t clear as she still had a responsibility to pay for her house in Windhoek’s Otjomuise area and a car which she owned,” a friend said.

Suicide note

An unverified suicide note said to be written by Neema has been circulating on social media. Haipumbu said they will scrutinise the letter and investigative whether it was indeed written by the deceased.

In the letter dated 30 July, the author thanked their parents and made a special shout-out to those who carried them through tough times, especially during years of unemployment.

The two-page letter also makes reference to the past which has not been easy, but added that the author kept going by the “grace of God”.

“I have left all in the hands of God. I believe He will see me through as He has done until today. Therefore, I decided to end here in this thing called life,” the letter read in part.

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