Malawi's 'hyena' pleads guilty to sex crimes

Lilongwe - A convicted sex offender from Malawi's Nsanje district has pleaded guilty to sex crimes perpetrated against scores of young girls and women in the area, Nyasa Times reports.

The suspect, Eric Aniva, gained notoriety last week after he admitted to having sex with over 100 young girls and women as part of a "sexual cleansing" ritual believed to teach initiates how to be good wives.

Known as a "hyena", Aniva is believed to have been paid to have sex with scores of underage girls, some as young as 12, in an outdated initiation ceremony that has left many shocked and angered.

Having been charged with an offence under the Gender Equality Act, Aniva has pleaded guilty and has since been remanded to August 5 when he is set to sentenced.

Arrested alongside Aniva is another suspect, Tennyson Jampa, who has since pleaded not guilty to similar charges.

Malawi police remain on the hunt for eight other suspects believed to have perpetrated sex crimes against young women as part of the traditional rite.

Malawian President Peter Mutharika has announced the introduction of tougher legislation against sex offenders, in a crackdown on sex crimes in the country.

"I have instructed the Minister of Justice to start preparing a draft paper which will form a base of legistaion which will be presented before the cabinet, and then we will have new legislation governing some of these [cultural] practices," stated Mutharika.

Despite being harshly criticised over the arrest of Aniva, Mutharika has defended his decision, saying that it was a "wise" move to have the man arrested and investigated due to sexual misconduct on his part.

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