Eric Aniva, a Nsanje commercial sex ‘hyena’ who slept with 104 young girls and widows since 1985 in an outdated sexual cleansing ritual, has been remanded at Nsanje Prison after he was charged with prohibition of harmful practices.
He is the first to be charged with the offence which is under Gender Equality Act.
Aniva pleaded guilty and his co-accused Tennyson Jampa, 55, pleaded not guilty.
Prosecutors said they would be bringing in other charges against the two and others yet to be arrested.
Eight more men are wanted on this and other sexual related offences and police say they are hunting for them.
The police also indicated parents of the under age chidren and village elders who surrendered the young girls might face other charges.
Aniva and his co accused also faces defilement charges.
Nsanje Magistrate Court’s Anderson Masanjala remanded Aniva and Jampa until August 5 when he is expected to deliver judgement on Aniva following his guilty plea and start a full trial case for Jampa who pleaded not guilty.
The prosecution is expected to parade witnesses to prove Jampa was part of the cultural syndicate of serial sex offenders for young girls and widows.
They slept with the widows allegedly to cleanse them of any evil and curses and usually it was done before the burial of their husbands.
The revelation by Aniva to the BBC has shocked the country and the world at large as people thought these harmful cultural practices ended long ago. Aniva is HIV positive and said he does not tell his clients his sero status.
Meanwhile, Malawi Police Service (MPS) has said it is ready to arrest all people implicated in traditional sexual cleansing like Aniva.
National Police spokesperson Nicholas Gondwa disclosed that Aniva mentioned people who were engaging in the ‘hyena’ work with him.
“More names of perpetrators and victims are coming out. We will not divulge much information on our investigations and we cannot reveal the identity of the victims to respect their right to dignity, but we are ready to arrest all people that are involved in the malpractice,” said Gondwa.
Aniva’s arrest followed President Peter Mutharika’s directive to have him jailed following BBC News story on July 21 2016 outlining his role as a fisi (hyena) who sleeps with young girls and widows in sexual cleansing rituals.
In the story, which went viral on social media, Aniva confessed to being HIV positive, exposing the girls and women he had slept with to the virus.
Aniva said he was being hired to have sexual intercourse with teenage girls as young as 12 after their first menstruation, at a fee of between $4 (about K3 400)and $7 (about K5 000, paid by each of their families).
If found guilty of defilement, Aniva in his 40s with two wives, could be imprisoned for life, according to Section 138 of the Penal Code.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :