Dijon drugs war: Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov says actions of Chechens "were correct"

Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov has given his backing to Chechens involved in recent clashes in the French city of Dijon this month, claiming they were protecting one of their own because police failed to act.

Kadyrov's message came as French police carried out raids and made several arrests of Chechens after several nights of violence blamed on members of the Chechen community from last Friday to Monday, when the city was rocked by clashes and car burnings.

Following an assault earlier this month on a 16-year-old Chechen in Dijon, a call for reprisals followed, with many Chechens travelling to the city.

Bernard Schmeltz, the top state official in the region, said 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: his words reflecting local concerns that the violence is the result of an escalating "turf-war" between Chechen and Arab drug gangs.

Kadyrov, the strongman head of the North Caucasus region in Russia, said on his Telegram account that the unrest was triggered by violence from "drug dealers" and police inaction over the assault on the teenager.

"It was not inter-ethnic conflict. Local authorities could not deal with out-of-control drug dealers, so the younger generation took matters into their own hands," he said.

"Law enforcement did not react as they should have," he added. "I believe the actions of the Chechens were correct.

"They united together and came out to face death-sowing drug dealers."

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