Senegal-Born Man Tries to Set Bus With Children Ablaze Near Milan

Driver hijacks school bus with 51 children near Milan sets it on fire

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

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

A bus full of schoolchildren was hijacked and set on fire by its own driver on Wednesday in an apparent protest against migrant drownings in the Mediterranean, Italian authorities said.

Local police have already arrested the bus driver responsible for the arson.

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

Twelve children were taken to hospital for bruises, smoke inhalation or because they were suffering from shock.

"He wanted revenge for his daughters" who died at sea while trying to reach Italy, said another boy from the bus, according to a video posted by Agenzia Vista.

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 carabinieri (police) were exceptional in blocking the bus and getting all the children out.

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According to the teacher, the man was driving the bus to a runway at Milan's Linate airport.

"While two officers kept the driver busy - he took a lighter and threatened to set fire to the vehicle with a gasoline canister on board - the others forced open the back door", Commander Luca De Marchis told Sky24TV.

Mr Greco said officials were still weighing terrorism charges against him.

Authorities said an adult called an emergency operator, while one of the students called a parent, and they alerted authorities, who set up roadblocks.

The unhinged driver said he wanted to kill himself and "stop the deaths in the Mediterranean", sources told the news outlet.

Officers broke glass windows in the back of the bus and got all the passengers to safety without serious injury before the flames destroyed the vehicle, authorities said.

Interior ministry sources said the minister was looking at withdrawing the driver's Italian citizenship, a move made possible by legislation adopted late previous year. "The children were banging on the windows, calling for help", said Roberto Manucci, one of six carabineri at the scene.

ANSA reported that Sy, who became an Italian citizen in 2004, had been convicted in 2007 and 2011 of drunken driving and sexual molestation of a minor. "Fewer departures, fewer arrivals, fewer deaths", he said.

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