Three known Malaysian militants linked with the Jemaah Islamiyah and several Abu Sayyaf camps were observed flying the black flag of the so-called Islamic State.
The groups were flying the flag in a remote region of Basilan in hopes to gain support from international terror groups. In recent weeks two black IS flags were recovered in Turburan in the same region as Basilan.
The three foreign militants who are accused of hoisting the flat were named in a report and are said to be experts in explosives. They are believed to have escaped from Malaysia and sought refuge with Abu Sayyaf in Basilan.
A gunfight broke out between the two groups and government forces on Thursday, killing two Abu Sayyaf members. The three Malaysians escaped the scene but left behind the flags.
Military officials say the two terror groups have pledged allegiance to IS on social media networks.