A Senegalese migrant set a bus full of children on fire in Italy as part of a pro-refugee protest against the deaths of asylum seekers attempting to reach Europe.
The bus was taking a group of school children home after outdoor activities in Crema before the driver, 47-year-old Ousseynou Sy, decided to change course.
After the migrant threatened passengers with a knife, one of the children managed to call their parents, who in turn alerted the police.
Authorities then set up road blocks in an effort to stop the driver, who then proceeded to ram the bus into them.
After losing control of the bus, Sy stopped the vehicle, poured gasoline on it and set it ablaze.
Un senegalese è stato arrestato dopo aver sequestrato uno scuolabus con 51 studenti e dato fuoco al mezzo. L’uomo, italiano dal 2004 e con precedenti per ubriachezza e violenza sessuale, voleva uccidersi.“La faccio finita, vanno fermate le morti in mare". Nessun ragazzo ferito pic.twitter.com/i1adiwNXJn— Giank-deR 🇮🇹 (@GiancarloDeRisi) March 20, 2019
All the passengers were able to escape through the back door and windows, although 12 children subsequently had to be taken to hospital for smoke inhalation.
The migrant said that he wanted to kill himself and potentially others as a protest to "stop deaths in the Mediterranean Sea," referring to asylum seekers who have drowned in an attempt to illegally enter Europe. He also reportedly threatened to "carry out a massacre."
Having once been one of the primary entrance points for illegal immigrants entering the continent, Italy has drastically reduced the number of migrants arriving on its shores thanks to populist leader Matteo Salvini's strong border policy.
At its peak, Italy was receiving around 120,000 illegal immigrants via boat from Libya a year. This number has been slashed to around 23,000, a number that is likely to shrink further as a result of Salvini's actions.
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