TERRIFYING footage shows guns being fired on the streets of Dijon, France as the city is overrun by Chechen gangs preparing to carry out a succession of “revenge attacks”.
The unrest is thought to have begun with an assault on a 16-year-old Chechen last Wednesday which is now being investigated as an “attempted murder”.
Videos posted to social media showed masked men brandishing weapons and shooting AK-47s into the air, and on Monday night military reinforcements were sent into the city.
The gang members are said to be from Chechnya – part of the Russian Federation which has been involved in two bloody independence wars over the past 26 years.
“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.
“Weapons including Kalashnikovs, axes and baseball bats are being carried openly on the streets, and live ammunition is being fired.
“People are terrified.”
The source added that the gangs had reacted to Wednesday’s assault by going into housing estates in vast numbers to see try and find who was responsible.
“The situation in Dijon is now so tense that military and police reinforcements are being drafted in to the city,” the source said.
One attack saw some 50 Chechens enter an estate in the Gresilles area of Dijon on Saturday and a man who owns a pizzeria badly wounded by gunfire.
Dijon prosecutor Eric Mathais said six people had been wounded so far, but there had been no arrests.
A government spokesman in Paris confirmed that Interior Minister Christophe Castaner had ordered reinforcements into the city to deal with the growing violence.
Mayor of Dijon Francois Rebsamen said: “What happened is unprecedented and unacceptable.”
He said Chechen gangs carried out three raids on three successive nights starting on Friday.
Bernard Schmeltz, the local Prefect, confirmed in a statement that the violence “appeared to be part of a settling of scores between members of the Chechen community in France and residents of Dijon.”
Chechnya is a republic in the North Caucasus.
Two wars in the 1990s triggered a wave of emigration, with some 30,000 heading for France.