Sy says heard voices of kids die at sea

'Wanted maximum international impact' says lawyer

(ANSA) - Milan, March 22 - Ousseynou Sy, the Senegalese-Italian bus driver who on Wednesday hijacked a schoolbus with 51 kids aboard and later torched it near Milan, said he did so because he had heard "the voices of children dying in the Mediterranean" and "asking him to do something sensational to stop it happening".
    In questioning Friday, Sy said he wanted to carry out a "demonstrative action and have not a national impact but a maximum international impact," his lawyer Davide Lacchini said.
    Lacchi said Sy "praised Italian policy on migrations" and his message was "no one should come from Africa to Europe".
    Sy showed "clear signs of (mental) imbalance" during the questioning in jail and also made "invocations", Lacchini said, without specifying what kind of invocations the bus driver made.
    The preliminary investigations judge, however, said he had not seen any signs of mental imbalance.
    Milan prosecutors on Friday requested that Sy be kept in jail, arguing there is a danger he could try to something similar if released.
    The interior ministry has released a circular letter telling police forces to beef up checks on driving licences after this week's school bus hijacking in northern Italy. Sy, a 47-year-old Italian national originally from Senegal, hijacked a bus at Crema near Cremona on Wednesday and doused it with petrol before torching it after police had helped 51 kids out of the back window at San Donato Milanese near Milan. 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. Italian police chief Franco Gabrielli said the police response to the emergency had shown that "the system worked".