Senegalese immigrant Ousseynou Sy (47) was held by Carabinieri police after hijacking a bus with schoolchildren for subsequently setting ablaze in an apparent murder attempt, sources close to investigation said.
According to an initial reconstruction, the assailant hijacked the bus with 51 pupils from school in the northern Italian province of Cremona.
The suspect has been named as Ousseynou Sy, with a criminal record who is originally from Senegal, in 2004 granted Italian citizenship.
The perpetrator also explained he wished to commit suicide afterwards to “stop the deaths in the Mediterranean,” the sources said.
“No one will survive,” Ousseynou Sy threatened after hijacking the vehicle, according to Carabinieri Provincial Commander Luca De Marchis. After being stopped by police, he jumped off the bus and set it ablaize, presumably premeditating the act by pouring inflammable liquid inside.
But the Carabinieri managed to get the children out by smashing windows at the back, the sources said. Before being stopped, the suspect had also tried to ram through a road block. Twelve children and two adults were taken to hospital after suffering smoke inhalation. The bus has burnt out.
A teacher who was with the children said that it was not the first time Sy worked as a driver with pupils on board.
“We knew him” the teacher said, adding that the hijacker was angry about the government’s migrant policy. According to the teacher the hostage situation occurred when Sy intended to get to Milan’s Airport Linate.
“A Senegalese with Italian citizenship behind a wheel of a school bus, with precedents for driving in the state of intoxication and sexual assault, hijacked the vehicle and finally set fire to him. It happened in the province of Milan. The man was arrested.” Matteo Salvini, Italian Interior Minister wrote in his Twitter micro blog.
“Right now the Police are searching his house. I want to see clear: why did a person with similar precedents drove a vehicle to transport children?” Salvini added.