Malawi Police Service (MPS) has said it is ready to arrest all people implicated in traditional sexual cleansing like Eric Aniva, who was picked by police on Tuesday following revelations he was involved in the malpractice.
National Police spokesperson Nicholas Gondwa said in an interview yesterday that Aniva mentioned people who were engaging in the malpractice with him. .
However, Gondwa could not reveal the names or number of people as revealed by Aniva, saying the police are still investigating them.
He said: “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.”
According to Gondwa, the police service has taken the matter seriously and will investigate it to get to the root of the problem.
Aniva’s arrest followed President Peter Mutharika’s directive to have him jailed following a British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) 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.
In the story he 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).
The arrest of Aniva, from Nsanje, has generated debate in both international and local media, over what has been regarded as harmful cultural practices that put women and girls at a disadvantage.
In a statement issued on Tuesday, Mutharika ordered Aniva’s arrest and called for an inquiry into the role of the parents involved.
Read the statement: Aniva should be investigated for exposing the young girls to contracting HIV and further be charged accordingly.
“Harmful cultural and traditional practices cannot be accepted.”
Aniva is in his 40s and has two wives.
Malawi, which has one of the highest HIV infections in the world, criminalises sex with a person under the age of 16.
If found guilty of defilement, Aniva could be imprisoned for life, according to Section 138 of the Penal Code.