Colombia's FARC rebels say will forfeit assets for victim reparations

People gather for the signing of the government's peace agreement with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) in Cartagena, Colombia September 26, 2016. REUTERS/John Vizcaino

BOGOTA (Reuters) - Colombia’s FARC rebels will forfeit all their assets to fund victims reparations, the group said on Saturday, one day before the Colombian people are set to vote on a peace deal between the insurgency and the government.

Colombian authorities say the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, possess huge tracts of valuable land, as well as cattle ranches, shops and construction companies which have allegedly helped the group launder money from drug trafficking, kidnapping and extortion.

“We will proceed to declare before the government all the monetary and non-monetary resources that have formed part of our war economy,” the Marxist group, which has fought the government for 52 years, said in a statement.

The peace deal, which will receive final approval or rejection at the polls on Sunday, requires the group to hand over all money and property before it can transition into a political party.

The funds will be given to victims of FARC killings, kidnappings, bombings and displacements and will be handed over during the demobilization process, set to begin in the days after the referendum vote.

“We will proceed to the material reparations of victims,” the statement said, adding that the FARC “has no monetary or non-monetary resources additional to what it will declare during the laying down of arms.”

The government had previously said it would seize all guerrilla assets to fund the reparations, but confiscations of rebel property have so far been limited.

Under the deal the FARC are set to develop economic projects, including tourism, farming and cheese-making, to employ their ex-fighters, but they are not permitted to fund the efforts with money earned from crime.

Reporting by Julia Symmes Cobb; Editing by Marguerita Choy