A man has taken control of a bus full of schoolchildren in italy and then set it on fire. The italian statesman with senegalese roots threatened about 50 children with death near milan before police were able to save them all in a dramatic action.
The prosecutor’s office is also investigating a terrorist motive. The 47-year-old is said to have made reference to the deaths of migrants in the mediterranean sea during the crime. He was arrested.
Around a dozen children were taken to hospital, according to media reports, but without serious injuries. Milan’s anti-terrorism prosecutor alberto nobili confirmed that the investigation is being conducted into an attempted blood crime and kidnapping with the aggravating circumstance of terrorism.
According to previous findings, however, there is no connection to islamist terror, but rather it is a "lone wolf". "I could no longer see children being torn apart by sharks in the mediterranean, pregnant women and men fleeing from africa," the culprit is reported to have said.
The children suffered a near hour of mortal fear. The man drove the bus and took it off the intended route. A young boy said in a video that the perpetrator had poured out gasoline cans, children had their hands tied, and their cell phones had been taken away from them. He was able to free himself, however, and called police with his phone, which had fallen to the ground, the boy said. The police were able to save everyone in time because they smashed the rear windows of the bus, as an eyewitness said on tv.
Interior minister and vice prime minister matteo salvini explained that the man had a criminal record for sexual violence and drunk driving. "I want clarity: why is a person with (these criminal records) driving a bus with children?"The head of the right-wing lega, who has been pursuing a strict anti-migration course since taking office, said that because the man had caused panic, the motive of terrorism was also being considered.
According to media reports, the perpetrator set the bus on fire when the police blocked it in the town of san donato milanese. Pictures showed a bus completely burned out. The man shouted "no one gets out of here alive" and then set the car on fire, ansa news agency reported, citing provincial commander luca de marchis. He also shouted, "the death in the mediterranean must stop". In a video, children around the age of twelve can be seen running out of the bus screaming in panic.
"He said if anyone moves, he’ll spill gasoline and spark the fire," a girl on the bus told ansa news agency. The man had said that the people in africa had to die and that this was the fault of the italian vice-government leaders salvini and luigi di maio of the funf-sterne movement.
The populist government in rome has taken a hard line against migrants since taking office, refusing to allow several rescue ships with cursed passengers to dock in italy. Just this week, the ship "mare jonio" was seized by an italian aid organization after rescuing migrants.
In the dispute over blocked rescue ships, salvini was also able to score another success on wednesday. The senate voted by a majority against a trial for false imprisonment against the head of lega.
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