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West African migrant sets fire to hijacked bus of 51 children in Italy

A bus in Como, Italy. (Elliott Brown/Flickr)
March 21, 2019

A Senegalese man in Italy hijacked his own bus carrying 51 middle school children this week, brandishing a knife, binding the children, threatening to kill them and also setting the bus on fire in what is seen as an act of revenge for migrants who have died trying to swim across the Mediterranean Sea to Europe.

Here is video after the man, 47-year-old Ousseynou Sy, hijacked the bus and began aggressively ramming through other cars on the highway. Be advised that you can hear children screaming in the video.

According to authorities, Sy said, “No one will survive.” The driver allegedly tried to commit suicide.

A police spokesman said Sy also shouted, “Stop the deaths at sea, I’ll carry out a massacre,” the Telegraph reported.

The entire incident lasted about 40 minutes, after Sy began driving the bus from Cremona to Milan. Police were eventually able to break the bus windows and the children were able to escape the burning bus. The bus burned after Sy had doused it with gasoline and set it on fire.

No one was killed, but 12 children were being treated at a nearby hospital for “bruises, smoke inhalation or because they were suffering from shock,” according to the Telegraph; one child was said to have severe burns.

Sy was arrested and faces possible terrorism charges, as well as kidnapping, attempted mass murder, causing a fire and resisting arrest.

The suspect obtained his Italian citizenship in 2004 and has a criminal record that includes drunk driving and convictions for sexual molestation.

There have been thousands of migrant deaths, including West Africans and Libyans, in the Mediterranean throughout past years, as migrants try to escape their home countries and seek asylum in Europe.

This year, 282 migrants have died, the Telegraph reported, noting that migration has slowed the past year after Italy declared last summer that it would stop taking any rescued asylum seekers via its ports.

One of the children on the bus told the media that they were handcuffed and threatened.

One child said, “He kept saying that people in Africa are dying and the fault is [Luigi] Di Maio and [Matteo] Salvini’s,” two Italian politicians.

Another child, 12, said, “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 Telegraph reported.