A HIV-positive Malawian man, who told the BBC he is regularly paid to have sex with children, has been arrested.
According to reports, Eric Aniva was arrested on the orders of the Malawian president.
President Peter Mutharika said the police should investigate and charge him of defilement after he had confessed to having sex with girls as young as 12.
The Malawian, who is in his 40s, is what’s known as a ‘hyena’ – a man paid to have sex with young girls as a form of ritual cleansing.
Sexual cleansing involving ‘hyenas’ is common practice in southern Malawi. Women are told to participate in the act at various important points in their life, including if their husband has died or if they have an abortion.
But in in statement, which the BBC has included as a follow-up, presidential spokesman Mgeme Kalilani said: “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 would “further be investigated for exposing the young girls to contracting HIV and further be charged accordingly,” he said.
The president has also ordered all men and parents involved to be investigated, Mr Kalilani said.
“All people involved in this malpractice should be held accountable for subjecting their children and women to this despicable evil,” the statement continued.
“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.”