EMILIA Ndiweni Josef (4) allegedly met her death at the hands of her own mother after she was strangled with a scarf around midday on Friday at Omanenepeke village at Onesi in the Omusati region.
The girl was left at home with her mother, two other children (aged eight and 10) and their great grandmother, who lives with a visual impairment.
The incident is said to have the community reeling in shock.
The mother (29) of two children allegedly strangled Emilia in full view of the other two children, while the great grandmother was sleeping in her hut.
Nandjila Iyambo (31) the suspect's older sister, told The Namibian her sister suffers from a mental illness that would surface from time to time.
Iyambo says it never crossed her mind that her sister would kill her own child as her condition was not severe, and she is not violent by nature.
"We still don't know the motive behind the killing. My sister was staying at Omahenene before, looking after my uncle's mahangu field and she only returned home towards the end of last year. At home, she was staying with our mother, grandmother and other children, including her two children.
"On that fateful day, my mother left the house to run some errands at Onesi . . . She then called her four year-old daughter to her room, saying she wanted to cut her hair, but the other children could hear the girl crying uncontrollably within a few minutes and ran towards the room - only to find the poor girl gasping for air and struggling to breathe while her mother was holding tight onto the scarf that was tied around her [Emilia's] neck," Iyambo says.
"The children . . . started crying and calling out for help. They ran to the nearest homestead, but found no one there, and then ran to the next homestead, but still could not find anyone.
"They continued to run to the cuca shops screaming for help. There they alerted the bar patrons who, upon hearing and seeing the children cry, ran to the house where they found the child lying dead on the ground, while the mother went about her things as if nothing happened," she says.
Iyambo says the police were summoned and arrived shortly thereafter.
She says the children who witnessed the incident are traumatised.
"She [the suspect]seemed to be okay and showed her children love. If you tried to harm her children in any way, she would be mad at you. Only she and God knows what led her to commit such a crime," Iyambo says.
Funeral arrangements for Emilia are yet to be announced.
According to a police report, the suspect has been arrested and was due to appear in the Outapi Magistrate's Court yesterday.