Mexico City: Gunmen killed nine state police officers and wounded a tenth law enforcement agent in the southern Mexican state of Guerrero, prosecutors said.

The officers were ambushed in the city of Apaxtla, the Guerrero state Attorney General's Office said. The state police officers were on a routine patrol when the gunmen opened fire on them on the road that leads to the town of Tepoxtepec, the AG's office said in a statement.

Federal, state and municipal police responded to the shooting, sealed off the area and removed the bodies from the crime scene, the AG's office said. The officers killed in the ambush were participating in "Operation Safe Guerrero", which was launched in 2011 with federal government support in an effort to reduce the soaring crime rate in the state, the Novedades de Acapulco newspaper reported.

The state police officers were attacked around 9.30 pm. Tuesday by about 30 armed civilians, who engaged them in a shootout that lasted about 20 minutes, the newspaper said, citing official sources. The gunmen fled the scene in a convoy of more than 10 vehicles and their whereabouts is not known, Novedades de Acapulco said.

The surviving officers, whose numbers have not been released, radioed for help and several units headed to the scene from Chilpancingo, the state capital.


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