An Italian migrant, who some outlets are reporting is a Muslim, was driving a school bus of 51 children when he decided to enact revenge for other migrants who’ve died at sea.
He hijacked his own vehicle, bound the children’s hands, and threatened to ‘massacre’ them but news reports say he had no link to Islamic terrorism.
He was just a maniacal fanatic who wanted to murder children…
However, prosecutors report that he made preparations that showed his actions were premediated, including buying a canister of gasoline and restraints on Tuesday.
He also sent a video to friends in Italy and Senegal about his plan of ‘action’ with the message, “Africa, Rise up,” they said.
The 47-year-old man said he was acting in revenge for the thousands of African migrants who have drowned in recent years while trying to invade Europe from Libya.
“No one will survive,” he said, according to police.
“He shouted ‘Stop the deaths at sea, I’ll carry out a massacre’,” said Marco Palmieri, a police spokesman.
Ousseynou Sy was driving 51 children to a sporting event when he started making threats, brandishing a knife.
The Telegraph reported:
In an ordeal that lasted around 40 minutes, he started driving towards nearby Milan, Italy.
He rammed the bus into cars on a busy highway before it came to a stop at a roadblock set up by police.
He then doused it in petrol and set it on fire.
“It was a miracle, it could have been a massacre,” said Francesco Greco, a prosecutor from Milan. “The carabinieri (police) were exceptional in blocking the bus and getting all the children out. They broke the windows and managed to get all 51 kids out.”
One of the children told reporters that the driver had threatened to pour petrol on them and set them alight.
“He handcuffed us and threatened us. He said that if we moved he would pour out the petrol and set fire to it.
“He kept saying that people in Africa are dying and the fault is Di Maio and Salvini’s” – a reference to Luigi Di Maio and Matteo Salvini, the leaders of the two parties that make up the populist coalition.
A 12-year-old boy who was interviewed by Italian television said the driver claimed that three of his children had drowned at sea while trying to reach Italy by boat from North Africa.
“He said he had lost three children that many children die at sea, so we should die too, by being burned. I was afraid I would die,” the boy said.
Mobile phone footage taken by passing motorists showed children screaming in panic as they ran away from the vehicle.
Another victim also explained what happened:
“We were all very afraid because the driver had emptied the gas canister onto the floor (of the bus.) He tied us up and took all the telephones so we could not call the police,” the student told reporters.
“One of the telephones, belonging to a classmate, fell to the ground, so I pulled off the handcuffs, hurting myself a bit, and went and picked it up. We called the Carabinieri and the police.”
Authorities explained that another adult called an emergency operator, while one of the students called a parent. They alerted authorities who set up roadblocks.
The bus was intercepted on the outskirts of Milan by three Carabinieri vehicles, which were able to force it into the guardrail, and then officers distracted the man while others broke out windows and allowed the children to escape.
“Police said the suspect had a criminal record, with convictions for sexual molestation and driving while drunk. He obtained Italian citizenship in 2004.
“Mr Salvini, the interior minister and head of the anti-immigration League party, asked why a person with a criminal record was allowed to drive a school bus.
Many others wonder the very same thing.
How was a predator given access to children?
“Investigators must clarify how the transport company permitted such a delinquent … to drive a bus, especially one carrying children,” said Riccardo De Corato, a Milan provincial official for security.
Interior minister officials also said they were looking at the possibility of revoking the migrant’s Italian citizenship.
The driver is likely to face charges of kidnapping, attempted mass murder, causing a fire and resisting arrest, although no terrorism charged have been indicated yet.