State prosecutors' spokesman Alejandro Arellano says three soldiers were wounded in the shootout Tuesday in the town of Los Reyes.
Arellano says soldiers ordered the men traveling in a pickup truck to stop but instead the men fled and opened fire on the troops as they gave chase.
He says investigators recovered more than 150 spent bullets from the scene.
Self-defense squads have been forming in recent months in Michoacan by people who say they are trying to protect themselves from drug cartels. But concerns have surfaced that the vigilantes may be violating the law, abusing the rights of people they detain, or even cooperating with criminals in some cases.
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