KINSHASA - A roundabout in Democratic Republic of Congo's capital Kinshasa has become the latest site occupied by a mystery monolith after similar objects in the United States and elsewhere caught the fancy of science-fiction fans.
On Wednesday morning, a crowd of curious onlookers in the Bandal neighbourhood snapped selfies and debated the possible origins of the 12-foot metallic structure that appeared over the weekend, before being pushed back by armed police.
Similar alien-looking pillars were spotted in a Utah desert in the United States in November, and then in Romania and Turkey, drawing comparisons to the monoliths in Stanley Kubrick's 1968 film, “2001: A Space Odyssey".
In the movie, an alien monolith is a recurring symbol that appears to play a role in human evolution.
"We woke up and saw this metallic triangle," said Serge Ifulu, a local resident. "We were surprised because it is a triangle that we often see in documentaries about freemasons or illuminati."
Similar mysteries have gone viral on Congolese social media before.
In August, an unidentified flying object was parachuted into dense jungle in the north of the country, briefly baffling local authorities.
They detained two people for questioning until a subsidiary of Google parent company Alphabet confirmed the device was an internet balloon.
This time again, extraterrestrial intervention appeared unlikely: residents said humans were seen digging a hole at the roundabout on Saturday.
"On Sunday morning I got a call when I was doing some sport to tell me they found something strange. I came and I said: 'This is cultural, it's extraordinary,'" said neighbourhood mayor Thierry Gaibene.
(Reporting by Benoit Nyemba Writing by Hereward Holland Editing by Aaron Ross and Giles Elgood)