An HIV-positive man dubbed ‘the hyena’ has been apprehended on Tuesday after he confessed to making a living by being paid to have sex with young girls and women as part of sexual cleansing rituals in Malawi.
Eric Aniva was taken into custody in southern Nsanje district after President Peter Mutharika ordered his arrest on Monday, police officer Kirby Kaunga told newsmen.
Aniva, a pre-eminent “hyena”, who is in his 40s, had granted an interview to BBC News, in which he said he was paid between $4 to $7 (£3 to £5), each time to have ‘carnal knowledge’ of young girls, as he also sleeps with widows.
“Most of those I have slept with are girls, school-going girls’’, Aniva said.
Mutharika said in a statement issued by his aide that tough action needed to be taken against Aniva for his “evil acts”, including deliberately placing girls and women at risk of contracting HIV.
The statement read: “While we must promote positive cultural values and positive socialisation of our children, the president says harmful cultural and traditional practices cannot be accepted in this country.”
Mr Aniva will “further be investigated for exposing the young girls to contracting HIV and further be charged accordingly”.
“All people involved in this malpractice should be held accountable for subjecting their children and women to this despicable evil.
“These horrific practices although done by a few also tarnish the image of the whole nation of Malawi internationally and bring shame to us all.”
In the Nsanje district of southern Malawi, a hyena is someone who has sex with virgin girls to ‘cleanse’ them after their first menses, among others – an act the country’s government did not endorse; even as they also did not actively campaign against it either.