The driver of a school bus who torched the vehicle to protest Mediterranean migrant deaths planned to use his young passengers as human shields and escape to Africa, Italian media on Friday quoted him as saying.
"I wanted to get to the runway at (Milan's) Linate airport using the children as human shields and from there head to Africa by plane," Corriere della Sera daily quoted Ousseynou Sy as telling investigators. "I didn't want to harm anybody," insisted the 47-year-old of Senegalese origin, who hijacked the bus Wednesday while taking 12-13 year-olds from a gym to school in Crema, east of Milan.
Armed with two petrol canisters and a cigarette lighter, Sy threatened the youngsters, took their telephones and told the adults to tie them up with electric cable.
Their 40-minute ordeal ended when police managed to smash windows open and get those onboard out just as Sy set fire to the vehicle.
Sy now faces having his Italian citizenship, obtained through marriage in 2004, revoked.
According to the Corriere della Sera, Sy has told investigators he hates white people for having "invaded and colonised" Africa, forcing Africans to emigrate and "die in the Mediterranean".
Alberto Nobili, head of Milan's counter terrorism police, said Sy had posted a video on Youtube with the message: "Africa, rise up." Media reports quoted him as saying he had no regrets as "it was something I had to do and would do again, 100 times. Why did I do it? To send a signal to Africa".
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