June 18, 2020 Special Dispatch No. 8806

On Twitter, Chechen And North African Users In France, Belgium, And Germany Respond To Dijon Unrest

June 18, 2020
North Africa | Special Dispatch No. 8806

This month, the city of Dijon in eastern France experienced four nights of unrest linked to score-settling by members of the Chechen community. The incidents appear to have been sparked by an assault this month on a 16-year-old Chechen boy by a drug dealer, prompting reprisal raids. Reports state that Chechens travelled to Dijon from all over France, Belgium, and Germany to avenge the boy. On the evening of June 15, 2020, dozens of hooded men carrying guns and crowbars gathered in Dijon's Grésilles district, shooting in the air, destroying video surveillance cameras, and setting fire to trash bins and vehicles. The unrest mainly took place in the immigrant district of Grésilles, and evolved into a settling of accounts between the Chechen community and the North African one, as suggested by the twitter threads considered below.

The account, named Al Chechnya, posts of videos featuring an Al Chechnya logo with a yellow wolf. The videos posted in the account all mention Vainakh, a group of native Chechen ethnic peoples, and feature a flag of the independent Chechen-ingushetia, in addition to the logo. The account expresses anti-Russian views. The account posts mostly in French, though some of the more sensitive content is in Russian. Al Chechnya joined twitter on January 2020, has 1,126 followers as of June 17, 2020 and is only following one private account.

Twitter threads pertaining to the Dijon unrest reflect tensions between the Chechen and North African communities in France. While the account description states the user is located in Serbia, one thread suggests he is actually located in Belgium. Following are screenshots from the Twitter posts:

The Al Chechnya Twitter account

Belgium-Based User Appears To Be A Prominent Member Of The Chechen Community

On June 16, user @_Ghost_Hammer posted a comment addressing @Alchechnya: "You are in [deep] shit that you cannot [even] fathom. And don't think you are in a safe place in Belgium. I know you are working with fascists, that you will have to deal with the law, not to mention prison..."

The same user seems to be in direct contact with the "head of the Chechen community," writing in another post that he spoke to him on the phone.

North Africans, Chechens Taunt And Threaten Each Other On Twitter

Other posts show that North African and Chechen communities in France are taunting each other online. One North African user threatened revenge: "There are millions of Maghrebins [North Africans] in France. We will [take] revenge, because you terrified a whole city [i.e. Dijon]." @m_mugiwa replied: "If there were so many of you, why wasn't there anyone there to settle accounts? They gave him a meeting point and the Chechens came from all over France, but no Maghrebin showed up in the end..."

One Arab user, Elys cherih, challenged the Chechens to come to the French cities Lyon and Marseille, where there is a larger Arab community: "You son of a bitch, come to Lyon or Marseille and you'll see. You come to Dijon because there aren't many Arabs there."

A Chechen user attempted to de-escalate the situation by reminding the poster that both Chechens and Maghrebins are Muslims: "The dealers were Maghrebin. So stop spreading hate because both peoples are supposed to be Muslim and united. You are spitting on a whole Muslim community to protect fucking drug dealers."

User Faik claimed that what actually happened is that "A group of 10-15 Arab and Black 30-year-old guys hit three young Albanians and Chechens. They deserved the response." User @amayymi, who apparently was present during the incident, wrote: "I saw a group of three Arabs hit one Chechen, not a group of 15."

In another thread, a Chechen user pointed out to a North African user that the Chechens fought millions of Russians whereas the Maghrebins go "and hide in mosques to talk about Islam, as they did in [the French City] Mulhouse"

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