Italy beefs up checks on driving licences after bus hijack

epa07450610 Firefighters and policemen where a bus was set on fire by a driver in Milan, Italy, 20 March 2019. A 47-year-old man was held by Carabinieri police after allegedly hijacking a bus with schoolchildren aboard and subsequently starting a fire inside the vehicle, sources said. According to an initial reconstruction, the man hijacked the bus with 51 pupils of a middle school at Vailati di Crema, in the northern province of Cremona, and said he wanted to kill himself. EPA-EFE/DANIELE BENNATI

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The Italian Interior Ministry issued a circular letter telling police forces to beef up checks on driving licences after this week’s school bus hijacking in northern Italy.

The driver of the bus, Ousseynou Sy, a 47-year-old Italian national originally from Senegal, hijacked the vehicle full of school students on the outskirts Cremona on Wednesday. After ordering that the students hands tied, doused it with petrol and set it ablaze.

The police, were alerted by a student who concealed his mobile phone from Sy and managed to give the alarm.

On arrival of the police, the 51 students inside the bus were taken out of the back window at San Donato Milanese near Milan and Sy subdued and arrested.

The phone call was made by Ramy Shehata, a 13-year-old Egyptian boy, and is being hailed as a hero in Italy for saving his classmates. He hid his mobile phone when the driver confiscated them from other students and at the first chance quickly phoned the police.

Man hijacks bus carrying pupils, sets it alight
Ramy Shehata, the student who made an emergency call to the Carabinieri police from a bus with 51 schoolchildren aboard that was hijacked and set on fire by its driver, poses near a Carabinieri police vehicle at a Carabinieri Station in San Donato Milanese, near Milan.

His father has now asked that his son be given Italian citizenship for his heroic act.
Sy said he acted out of anger at the Italian government’s migration policy.
The circular letter by Interior Ministry Chief of Staff Matteo Piantedosi calls for the scrupulous application of the law concerning the issue and renewal of licences for drivers of vehicles that transport people as well as demanding more checks.

Sy hid the fact that he had had his licence suspended for drink driving by going on sick leave, sources said.

Via La Stampa

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