At least six armed civilians were killed in a shootout with army troops over the weekend in Tecpan de Galeana, a city in the southern Mexican state of Guerrero, prosecutors said.

The incident occurred on Saturday while soldiers were on patrol in a place called El Rancho near La Palma, a community outside Tecpan de Galeana, the Guerrero Attorney General's Office said in a statement.

The army contacted state officials and advised them of the incident, the AG's office said.

Bad weather and the remoteness of the shooting scene made it difficult for investigators to reach the area until around midnight on Saturday, the AG's office said.

Investigators found the bodies of six men, all of whom had been shot, at the scene.

The dead men were identified by relatives as Jose Carlos Atrixco, Ever Daniel Granados, Gulmaro Granados, Jorge Granados, Josue Olea and Joaquin Granados, the AG's office said.

An AR-15 assault rifle, three AK-47 assault rifles, two pistols, 11 AK-47 ammunition clips, two AR-15 ammunition clips, assorted ammunition and other items were found with the bodies.

"The deaths were a result of a clash between soldiers from the 19th Infantry Battalion in Petatlan and armed civilians," the AG's office said.

Officials did not provide any information on why the shootout happened or whether the men belonged to a drug cartel.

Guerrero Gov. Angel Aguirre Rivero launched a security operation last year with the support of the federal government to improve security in the southern state.

"Operation Safe Guerrero" was launched on Oct. 6, 2011, in an effort to reduce the soaring crime rate in the state.

The wave of drug-related violence in the state has been blamed on a turf war between rival cartels.

President Felipe Calderon declared war on Mexico's drug cartels shortly after taking office in December 2006.

Calderon has deployed tens of thousands of soldiers and Federal Police officers across the country to combat drug cartels and other criminal organizations.

The use of the armed forces to fight drug traffickers, however, has failed to stem the violence.

Unofficial tallies put the death toll from Mexico's drug war at more than 50,000. EFE