MEXICO CITY — Mexico's government has formally apologized to the families of two university students who were shot to death by soldiers in 2010.

The soldiers had falsely claimed the students were drug cartel gunmen and planted weapons on the bodies to justify the shooting.

The students happened to walk into an area of the campus where soldiers were pursuing gunmen after coming under fire. The incident was part of a series of confrontations in the northern city of Monterrey.

The Interior Department said in an apology Tuesday that it would try to make amends for the deaths and to guarantee that such killings would never happen again. Interior Secretary Olga Sanchez apologized for officials falsely besmirching the students' names and reputations and altering the crime scene.