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Self-immolation victim buried as second incident reported

By Khaled Neimat - Jan 11,2012 - Last updated at Jan 11,2012

AMMAN — Authorities on Wednesday handed over the body of a 51-year-old man, who reportedly set himself ablaze in downtown Amman earlier this week, to his family for burial, as a second act of self-immolation was reported in the Amman neighbourhood of Hay Nazzal.

The former Greater Amman Municipality (GAM) employee was buried yesterday in his hometown of Aiy in the southern Governorate of Karak.

The man, a member of the Matarneh clan, reportedly immolated himself Monday afternoon, after which bystanders and shop owners rushed to extinguish the flames with clothes from nearby shops.

After sustaining burns to 80 per cent of his body, the man died of blood poisoning late Monday at Al Bashir Hospital, where he had been sent for treatment.

His family, however, initially refused to receive his body until they gathered to discuss the incident.

According to Matarneh's relatives, the clan decided to bury him following a meeting during which leaders of the tribe agreed that he was not murdered, so nothing could be done except to bury him.

On Tuesday evening, a small group of the tribe’s members burned tyres on the streets of their town, an act some of Matarneh's relatives described as a "minor incident to mitigate anger over the death of their son", downplaying the situation.

On Monday, GAM issued a statement saying that the man was sent into retirement in July 2010 and was offered around JD8,000 in compensation.

The statement added that he visited GAM in December 2011 and requested a JD30,000 housing loan "because of the economic hardship he was suffering".

"GAM examined his request and decided to offer him the JD30,000 loan for humanitarian reasons, although there were other employees who had submitted applications before him," the GAM statement added.

Meanwhile, a second man set himself on fire in the Amman neighbourhood of Hay Nazzal yesterday, the Jordan News Agency, Petra, reported.

According to the police, he was taken to hospital for treatment and an investigation is under way to determine the circumstances surrounding the incident.

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