Immigration

Italy driver sets school bus full of children alight to protest migrant drownings

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A driver who set alight a bus full of schoolchildren on the outskirts of Milan was apparently protesting against migrant drownings in the Mediterranean.

A bus full of schoolchildren has been hijacked and set on fire by its own driver in an apparent protest against migrant drownings in the Mediterranean.

All 51 children managed to escape unhurt before the bus was engulfed in flames on the outskirts of Milan, Italy's business capital.

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Police named the driver as Ousseynou Sy, a 47-year-old Italian citizen of Senegalese origin.

The bus driver threatened to torch the school bus, which he doused with petrol, the authorities said.
The bus driver threatened to torch the school bus, which he doused with petrol, the authorities said.
Getty Images

Police spokesman Marco Palmieri said Sy told police he shouted, "stop the deaths at sea, I'll carry out a massacre".

A video posted on Italian news sites on Wednesday showed the driver ramming the bus into cars on a provincial highway before the fire took hold.

Children can be seen running away from the vehicle screaming and shouting "escape".

One of the children told reporters that the driver had threatened to pour petrol over them and set them alight.

One of the group managed to call police, who rushed to the scene and broke the bus windows to get everyone to safety.

Palmieri said some children were taken to hospital as a precautionary measure because they had bruises or were in a state of shock, but none suffered serious injuries.

Italian police rescued some 50 children from the bus before it was gutted by flame.
Italian police rescued some 50 children from the bus before it was gutted by flame.
Getty Images

A teacher who was with the middle school children was quoted by Ansa news agency as saying that the driver had said he wanted to get to the runway at Milan's Linate airport.

An unnamed girl was also quoted as saying that Sy blamed Deputy Prime Ministers Matteo Salvini and Luigi Di Maio for the deaths of African migrants at sea.

The United Nations estimates that some 2297 migrants drowned or went missing in the Mediterranean in 2018 as they tried to reach Europe.

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