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Ousseynou Sy. Screenshot from RAI1 news report

African who torched Italian schoolbus shows no remorse

The African from Senegal who hijacked a schoolbus in Italy, terrorizing 51 small children on board, is not going to apologize for what he did.

Published: March 23, 2019, 12:19 pm

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    He forcefully affirmed his act of torching the bus, and in fact, in front of the magistrates, explained his motives for the attack on the bus, Italian daily Il Giornale reported.

    “Repent? No repentance. It was something that I had to do and would do again. One hundred times. Why did I do it? To send a signal to Africa.”

    His shocking words conveyed just how determined the man was in executing his death plan. As another Italan daily Corriere della Sera noted, the words of Ousseynou Sy are a confirmation of the strategic outlook of the driver.

    He certainly does not even fear justice and the long legal process that he will have to face. “That’s nothing, I took it into account. I wanted a consequential gesture. The world had to talk about me,” he confided to his lawyer.

    His legal council believes his attitude is due to a mental infirmity. “In my judgment, he showed serious signs of imbalance, and the manner in which the investigating judge had to carry out the interrogation was aimed out verifying this aspect,” said the lawyer, Davide Lacchini.

    “To him, he was not interested in the national reaction, but the impact on an international level that his action could have. He wanted to go to Linate [Milan’s airport] alone. Today, as yesterday, he constantly repeated that he didn’t want to hurt the children.”

    But the preliminary investigations judge, however, said he had not seen any signs of mental imbalance. Milan prosecutors on Friday requested that Sy be kept behind bars, arguing that there is a danger he could try to do something similar if released.

    When Sy hijacked a bus at Crema near Cremona on Wednesday, he doused it with petrol before torching it. The children were saved after law enforcement intervened. Italy’s Ministry of Defence posted a tweet thanking authorities for rescuing the children.

    After the attack on the bus, he was detained in the San Vittore prison where other inmates pelted him with eggs and oranges on his arrival. One projectile landed against his cell.

    The other prisoners did not allow him to get any sleep either. He is located in the fifth corridor for protected prisoners, those who cannot be jailed together with the others. Inside the prison, criminals who attack children, receive an added penalty with which they have to contend on a daily basis.

    This rule has not changed for Sy, who already experienced the hostility he will have to face from now on. He was seen in his cell wearing a t-shirt and jeans and a checkered shirt. As reported by Corriere, the clothes he wore on the bus, have been partially burned.

    Italy’s Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini said after the incident that police had raided the Sy’s house. Salvini questioned why the African was allowed to drive a school bus with his criminal record of sexual harassment and drunken driving.

    The minister explained that there was also a possibility that his citizenship could be taken away if he is convicted of terror. The removal of his citizenship would be done under a security decree introduced by the country in 2018.

    Giorgia Meloni — the leader of the anti-immigration party Fratelli d’Italia [Brothers of Italy] and a member of the Italian Chamber of Deputies — said it was imperative to strip Sy of his Italian citizenship.

    “And if in the previous administration had passed draft law propose by the Brothers of Italy that deals with the withdrawal of citizenship from all migrants who commit crimes, this person — because of his criminal record — wouldn’t be an Italian citizen now,” Meloni said.

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