MILAN – A native of Senegal, 47-year-old Ousseynou Sy, took a bus with youths in Milan he was driving, and went off course, where he proceeded to use gasoline to set the entire bus ablaze. At the time of the attack there were about 50 teenagers on the bus.
The man worked as the driver of this bus, reports the Italian news agency ANSA. According to police, Sy deviated from the route and took the children to Linate airport. After the police stopped the vehicle, the man got out of the cab, poured gas on the bus, and set fire to it.
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
None of the schoolchildren were injured, but 14 people were taken to a local hospital for examination as a result of smoke inhalation.
According to eyewitnesses, the man shouted that he wants to stop death in the Mediterranean, referring to the wreck of boats with African migrants. He also reportedly threatened to “carry out a massacre”. FRN has not confirmed these eyewitness accounts.
The attacker is 47 years old, he has been living in Italy legally since 2004. Previously, he had already come to the attention of the police for various violations. According to The Guardian , these involved drunk driving and sexual harassment. The police are checking whether he is associated with terrorist organizations.
Apparently the terrorist committed this attack in what he believes is a ‘protest’ against the treatment of migrants and refugees to Europe. In July 2018, a boat with migrants who tried to get to Europe sank off the coast of Libya. It had more than 100 people, about 60 are still missing.
FRN does not have further details as to the motivations of the terrorist, his previous contacts with organizations of any kind, or motivations. FRN does not have information on whether the terrorist was known previously for his radical views, or was being tracked by any intelligence organizations.
This attack will no doubt have a continued polarizing effect on European discourse surrounding migration. It is of particular interest that the Guardian reports that the terrorist had a history of sexual harassment and drunk driving – these will no doubt become talking points for concerned citizens already mobilized around policies seeking to restrict the flow of migration into the Mediterranean peninsular state.
This attack comes just days after an alleged white supremacist in New Zealand carried out an attack on several mosques which are said to have left nearly 50 people dead. In the aftermath of this tragedy, pro-migration civil society organizations utilized this event to push forward a view which connects anti-migration activism to terrorist extremism and white supremacism. The terrorist attack now in Italy will apparently now have an effect pushing in the opposite direction.
In total, according to the UN, in the first six months of 2018, about 1,000 people died while trying to illegally enter the EU across the Mediterranean Sea on inappropriate watercraft.
Italy was once one of the primary entrance points for illegal immigrants entering the continent, but has reduced the number of migrants arriving on its shores from about 120 thousand down to about 20 thousand, as a result of Italian Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini’s newly introduced border policy.