This week, 51 young children were kidnapped when the driver of an Italian school bus took the vehicle off course and held the kids captive. During the incident, the man stopped the bus and set it ablaze. Luckily, all of the children managed to escape, although some of them were later treated for small injuries.
The Senegalese suspect, Ousseynou Sy is an Italian citizen said that he was protesting the recent migrant drownings in the Mediterranean.
According to Police Commander Luca De Marchis, the suspect has been arrested and charged with carnage and kidnapping, among numerous other charges.
De Marchis said that the man threatened the children and told them that “no one would survive today.”
Ousseynou Sy took everyone’s phones during the incident and order the chaperones to tie the students’ hands with cable ties.
Luckily, one of the students managed to conceal his phone and an adult on the bus was able to call for help. When authorities received the call they set up a road block in the route of the bus and waited for it to cross their path.
However, when police finally closed in on Ousseynou Sy he became even more aggressive.
“While two officers kept the driver busy – he took a lighter and threatened to set (f)ire to the vehicle with a gasoline canister on board – the others forced open the back door,” De Marchis said.
Soon after, Ousseynou Sy followed through on his threat and set the bus ablaze. Bystanders recorded video of the rescue, which showed police bashing through windows to help the children escape.
Ousseynou Sy has a previous criminal record which includes drunken driving and sexual molestation of a minor.
Riccardo De Corato, a Milan provincial official for security said there will be an official investigation into why this man was hired, especially with the crimes against children that he was found guilty of.
“Investigators must clarify how the transport company permitted such a delinquent … to drive a bus, especially one carrying children,” Corato said.
According to witness testimony, Ousseynou Sy was scheduled to bring the students from the high school Vailati di Crema to the gym, but he veered off course and told the students that he was headed for the airport. However, before making it to the airport, Ousseynou Sy lost control of the situation and found himself in the middle of a chase.
“He was threatening us, saying if we moved he would have poured the gasoline and set a fire,” one student said after the incident.
Autoguidovie, the man’s employer and the company responsible for the bus made a statement saying that there were no previous signs that he was capable of such acts. The company also noted that they were unaware of his previous record of driving while intoxicated and crimes against children.
“The man, our coworker since at least 2002, has been working full time since 2004. Over the years he has never shown any signs of mental imbalance, neither have we ever received any complaint regarding his behavior as a driver. As a company, we did not know anything about his criminal record,” the statement read.
His criminal record may have been good for them to know, considering that drunk driving and child molestation are two of the worse charges to have if you are going to be a bus driver for children. Drunk driving cases are fairly common and something that happens when people make mistakes, but it should certainly disqualify someone from being a school bus driver, and the other charges against him should have been a major red flag.
The United Nations estimates that some 2,297 migrants drowned or went missing in the Mediterranean in 2018 as they tried to reach Europe to escape the war-torn conditions of the middle east, according to Reuters. This Tuesday, a Libyan security official announced that at least 10 migrants died when their boat sank off the Libyan coast near the western town of Sabratha.
Many of these deaths are being blamed on tightening immigration policies in Europe which are making it more difficult to cross the Mediterarian sea and putting migrants in more dangerous situations than they were in before. However, it is not clear what this man was expecting to accomplish with his outburst.
Photo Credit: Daily Mail