A Senegalese man abducted 51 children when he hijacked an Italian school bus and set the vehicle alight in a protest over migrant deaths in the Mediterranean.
Ousseynou Sy, originally Senegalese but with Italian citizenship, stopped the bus he was driving, with two classes of high school students on board.
He was said to have ordered the children’s hands to be bound and threatened to kill them and himself during the drive, before setting the vehicle on fire when he was stopped by a police blockade today.
Officers broke the glass in the back door of the bus and got all the passengers to safety without serious injury before the flames destroyed the vehicle, authorities said.
As he was apprehended, the driver said he was protesting migrant deaths in the Mediterranean, Commander Luca De Marchis told Sky TG24.
The incident happened in San Donato Milanese, a town near Milan, Italy.
The 47-year-old father of two, whose ex-wife is Italian, has been arrested and charged with carnage and kidnapping, worsened by the fact that most of the people involved are under age.
De Marchis told Sky TG24 that the driver, an Italian citizen of Senegalese origin in his 40s, threatened the passengers, telling them that ‘no one would survive today’ as he commandeered the bus carrying two middle-school classes in Cremona province, some 25 miles (40 kilometres) from Milan.
ANSA quoted one of the students as saying the driver took all their phones and ordered the chaperones to bind the students’ hands with cable ties, threatening to spill gas and set the bus ablaze.
The student, whose name was not given, said a classmate managed to conceal his phone.
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.