Three men from the West African country of Guinea died while participating in physical endurance tests required of police recruits, the Australian Associated Press reported Tuesday.

The country, officially named the Republic of Guinea, is deeply impoverished and is recruiting around 7,000 new police officers to bolster security. Recruits must endure rigorous physical training exercises to be selected, according to the report.

"Three died — they couldn't stand the obligatory physical tests," a senior police officer said. "The applicants did not die on the spot, but in (a) hospital, where they had been taken in a state of physical exhaustion. The treatment they received could not save them."

The police endurance tests include activities such as wading through pools of mud and crawling through tropical scrub on hands and knees for long periods of time, AAP reported.

At least three candidates died last year in a similar recruitment drive for Guinea's paramilitary service.

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