Federal officers killed in Mexico as fighting escalates with drug cartel

Clashesacross the Mexican state of Michoacan have killed at least 20 gunmen and twofederal police officers.

TheMexican government says gunmen blocked roads and ambushed police patrols in atleast six different spots in the violence-plagued state Tuesday.

Fightingbetween the Knights Templar drug cartel and federal police has beenintensifying over the past week in western Mexico. At least four policeofficers have been killed in shootouts with gunmen in Michoacan since Thursday.

Self-defensesquads have been forming in recent months by people who say they are fightingviolence, kidnappings and extortions carried out by drug cartels.

Alsoyesterday, authorities in the northern state of Chihuahua said police found thebodies of six men in a remote village where several homes and cars were setablaze.