World News

Driver arrested in Milan after allegedly setting school bus on fire

Driver arrested in Milan after allegedly setting school bus on fire

Photos showed the burnt-out shell of the bus and the vehicle, which were travelling on a road near Milan.

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

Authorities said that an adult called an emergency operator, while one of the students called a parent, and they alerted authorities, who set up roadblocks. Fourteen people were brought to the hospital due to smoke inhalation.

The man's motives are unclear, and prosecutors are not ruling out terrorism.

Alberto Nobili, head of counter-terrorism at the Milan public prosecutor's offices, said the suspect had not linked himself to any banned groups or movements.

"No one is getting out of here alive", he said, according to several of the students.

He posted a video on YouTube to explain his actions and call on relatives and friends in Crema and Senegal to take action, saying: "Africa - arise". "He handcuffed us and threatened us".

He told reporters the suspect had said "it was my personal choice, I could no longer see children torn apart by sharks in the Mediterranean Sea, pregnant women dead".

"He threatened us, said that if we moved he would pour the petrol and set it alight".

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Matteo Salvini, Italy's far-right deputy prime minister, said: "At this moment the police are searching his home".

The Italian government has closed its ports to charity rescue ships that pick up migrants off the Libyan coast. "Then the carabinieri [police] saved us". Prosecutor Greco said the man kept two of the children close to him, brandishing the lighter.

All the children managed to escape before the bus burnt down.

The children, some of them tied up, were rescued through smashed windows at the back of the bus and no-one was badly hurt. "During the descent of the children from the vehicle, he set the bus on fire", said a tweet by the Carabinieri. Thousands of migrants have crossed from North Africa to Italy, many of them losing their lives on the unsafe journey.

In an apparent reference to the hundreds of migrants who have died while trying to cross the Mediterranean from Libya, the driver told the children, "Stop the deaths at sea, I'll carry out a massacre", police reported.

Colleagues told Italian media that Sy's separation from his Italian wife, with whom he has two teenage children, was "when his problems started".

The driver was also known to have a conviction for sexual assault - which resulted in a year-long prison sentence - and a drunk driving conviction, Mr Nobili said. It gave no dates for the alleged offences.

Another 12-year-old student mentioned that the driver said three of his children had died on their way to Italy from Africa, so they deserved to die too.


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