Police on Thursday denied reports that one of the six kidnapped sawmill workers was beheaded by their captors.
"Hindi totoo. Walang kidnap victim na pinugutan ng ulo," said Senior Supt. Rustom Duran, director of the Lanao del Sur Provincial Police Office.
"We are still on the process of negotiation with the armed group," he told GMA News Online a day after an emergency meeting of the Crisis Management Committee was held.
Col. Roseller Murillo, 103rd Army Brigade commander, identified the abducted workers as Tado Hanobas, Buloy Hanobas, Makol Hanobas, Gabriel Hanobas Adones Hanobas, and a certain Isoy, who all hail from Iligan City.
The six workers were abducted Monday morning in Butig, Lanao del Sur. Police suspect the Maute brothers are leading the armed group who are holding the victims captive.
Duran said Butig Mayor Ibrahim Macabato has been tasked by the crisis committee to negotiate for their safe release.
"The kidnap victims were brought to an alleged camp of the armed group in the outskirts of Butig," he said.
A source in Butig said the armed group is demanding a prisoner swap. The source added that the Maute brothers want the authorities to release one of their members who was captured during the three-week military operation launched against them.
Duran however said the military did not take any prisoner from the said operation.