Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena claimed that Tamil separatists are active and are regrouping abroad. Sirisena was addressing a gathering outside the Sri Lankan parliament on National War Heroes Day on May 19.

The civil war between the Sri Lankan government and Tamils demanding a separate state for themselves ended nine years ago.

The president said he would not allow the dreams of the extremists for a separate Eelam state to become a reality. “We have defeated terrorism of the LTTE (Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam), but we have not been able to defeat their ideology,” Sirisena said. “They are very active abroad. They protested when I visited London last month.” The president was referring to protests staged against him during the Commonwealth Summit in the United Kingdom.

Sirisena also refuted allegations by the United Nations Human Rights Council that the nation’s troops had committed human rights violations. In November 2017, more than 50 men from the Tamil ethnic minority had accused the Sri Lankan government forces of abducting and torturing them. The men claimed that the alleged torture and abuse occurred from early 2016 to as recently as July 2017.

The president’s statements follow Sri Lankan Army Chief Lieutenant General Mahesh Senanayake’s announcement that the military would set up a panel to defend itself against allegations of human rights violations, AFP reported.

There have been no incidents of violence attributed to the Tamil rebels since their leader Velupillai Prabhakaran was shot dead on May 18, 2009. Before being elected to power, Sirisena had promised to provide reparations for war victims and transparency in dealing with rights abuses. He is yet to offer increased political autonomy to Tamils or set up a panel to investigate the United Nation’s allegations of war crimes.

Sirisena claimed that parties and certain media houses supporting the Tamil rebels are falsely stating that the United Nations Human Rights Council has accused the nation’s security forces of war crimes, the President’s Media Division quoted him as saying.