CONAKRY, Guinea — Heavy gunfire echoed around the capital of Guinea early on Sunday morning. Then pictures surfaced on social media of the West African country’s president being held in custody by men in military fatigues. Finally, the head of Guinea’s special forces announced on state television that the constitution, government and all institutions were dissolved. He had staged a coup.

And if the takeover proves successful, Guinea will become the third West African country to experience a violent transfer of power in the past five months.

In April, the president who had ruled Chad for three decades was killed on the battlefield and replaced by his son in what academics called a “covert coup.” In May, Mali’s vice president arrested the president, prime minister and defense minister in the country’s second coup within nine months.

Sunday’s coup in Guinea comes barely a year after the president, Alpha Condé, won a contentious third term after changing the Constitution, allowing him to stay in power beyond the two-term limit.

first democratically elected leader in 2010, there were two military takeovers, in 1984 and 2008.

After he assumed office, his government turned Guinea

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