Monday, 22 April, 2019

Senegalese Migrant Sets Bus of Children on Fire to 'Avenge' Drowned Migrants

Driver sets bus full of children ablaze lailasnews Senegalese man sets Italian school bus on fire with children on board (PHOTOS, VIDEO)
Jeannette Daniel | 21 March, 2019, 15:56

Italian police on Wednesday rescued some 50 children taken hostage by their school bus driver, who doused the vehicle in petrol and set it alight, the authorities said.

Reports said he was 47 years old, of Senegalese origin and had been a school bus driver since 2002.

"I want to end it all, we need to stop [migrant] deaths in the Mediterranean", the driver said, according to RAI public television and other media reports.

A man hijacked a school bus with 51 students aboard before setting the vehicle ablaze in an apparent protest over Italy's migration policy, police said. One of group managed to call the police, who rushed to the scene and broke the bus windows to get everyone to safety.

Armed with two canisters filled with petrol and a cigarette lighter, he menaced the children, took their telephones and tied them up with electric cable. ANSA said the chaperones only loosely bound several students' hands with the zip ties, not everyone's.

"It was a miracle, it could have been a massacre", Milan chief prosecutor Francesco Greco was quoted as saying.

'We were all very afraid because the driver had emptied the gas canister onto the floor (of the bus.) He tied us up and took all the telephones so we could not call the police, ' the student said.

Another student aboard the bus told Repubblica: 'He was threatening us, saying if we moved he would have poured the gasoline and set a fire. "Then the police arrived and saved us", the rescued girl said. One of the children managed to pick up a phone that had been dropped and call their parents who in turn phoned the police.

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Interior ministry sources said the minister was looking at withdrawing the driver's Italian citizenship, a move made possible by tough anti-migrant legislation adopted late previous year. The bus was intercepted on the outskirts of Milan by three Carabinieri vehicles, which were able to force it into the guardrail, De Marchis said.

While the evacuation was still underway, the driver started the fire.

Some of the passengers were treated at a hospital, mostly for cuts and scratches, he said.

De Marchis credited the officers" "swiftness and courage, ' for getting out all the children and their teachers 'with no tragic consequences'.

He has a rap sheet for drunken driving and sexual assault of a minor, The Local reported.

Video showed firefighters dousing the bus that had been completely gutted by flames, leaving only the charred metal frame.

Interior ministry sources said the minister was looking at withdrawing the driver's Italian citizenship, a move made possible by legislation adopted late a year ago.

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