The city of Dijon in south-east France has witnessed violent clashes between groups of Chechens and members of the North African community. The conflagration started at the weekend after an alleged attack on a 16 year-old Chechen youth by a drug-dealer, Chechens have told local media. Following the attack young Chechens travelled from as far away as Belgium and Germany to seek out the alleged attacker.

No deaths have been reported despite gunshots and videos on social media of young men brandishing guns, including an assault rife. Mainstream French media has been slow to cover the story, according to some local residents, while the police presence has so far been muted. “What happened is unprecedented and unacceptable,” the city’s mayor, Francois Rebsamen, told AFP.

The local prefect called Interior Minister Christophe Castaner on Monday and asked for police reinforcements. “Unrest has been going on for the past three nights,” a Dijon police source said on Monday. “Chechen gangs linked to the drug trade and other criminal activity have mobilised to take part in battles with other gangs.” His comments suggest that rather than being simply a revenge attack, the violence between the groups may be a turf war over drugs.

PHOTO: Dijon, a normally peaceful Burgundy town of 150,000 people