A BUS full of schoolchildren was hijacked by its driver who threatened to kill them all before setting the coach on fire today.
He shouted “No one will survive” as he rammed cars and vowed to douse the children with petrol on a terror drive through Milan.
The bus was engulfed in flames at a police roadblock, where officers smashed the windows to let all 51 children escape.
Police named the driver as Ousseynou Sy, a 47-year-old Italian citizen of Senegalese origin.
He was taking pupils from Vailati di Crema school to the gym when he went on a rampage in an apparent protest against migrant drownings in the Mediterranean.
One boy said the driver was holding two kids next to him hostage with a lighter.
The pupil said: “He wanted to kill us. He said he lost three daughters at sea.”
Police spokesman Marco Palmieri said: “He shouted, ‘Stop the deaths at sea, I’ll carry out a massacre’.”
A video posted on Italian news sites showed the driver ramming the bus into cars on a motorway before the fire took hold.
Children can be seen running away from the burning bus screaming and shouting “escape”.
One of the children told reporters the driver had threatened to pour petrol over them and set them alight.
He also ordered the kids chaperones to bind their hands, according to reports.
One of the group managed to call the police, who rushed to the scene and broke the bus windows to get everyone to safety.
Twelve children were reportedly taken to hospital as a precautionary measure because they had bruises or were in a state of shock, but none suffered serious injuries.
A teacher who was with the children told Ansa news agency the driver said he wanted to get to the runway at Milan’s Linate airport.
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 driver was treated for burns and was arrested on suspicion of kidnapping, intention to commit mass murder, arson and resisting law enforcement.
Sy, who has been an Italian citizen since 2004, has a criminal record for drunk driving and for a sexual abuse on a minor, reports La Repubblica.
Sky TG24 said he has worked for the bus company for 15 years without any problems.
Milan provincial security official Riccardo De Corato said: “Investigators must clarify how the transport company permitted such a delinquent to drive a bus, especially one carrying children.”
The United Nations estimates 2,297 migrants drowned or went missing in the Mediterranean in 2018 as they tried to reach Europe.
Only yesterday a Libyan security official said at least ten migrants died when their boat sank off the Libyan coast near the western town of Sabratha.
The Italian government has closed its ports to charity rescue ships that pick up migrants off the Libyan coast.
Salvini says this has helped reduce deaths because far fewer people are now attempting the crossing.
Human rights groups say deaths might have increased with hardly any boats now searching for the would-be refugees.
Story cited here.