No, these images show an illegal soft drink operation raided by authorities in Pakistan
Viral images purporting to show the recent discovery of an illegal Coca-Cola manufacturing plant in Zambia are doing the rounds on social media again. The claim is false; the pictures actually show a 2015 raid on a makeshift soft drink plant in Pakistan.
The various images in this archived Facebook post here show the inside of a ramshackle building, which appears to house an illegal bottling operation of soft drink brands.
The claim, in full, reads: “Fake coke manufactured in Matero makes its way into Zambian market. The product has been under manufacturing in Matero for the past 1 year 8 months. This is according to a suspect who was apprehended by a mob in Garden area where he was mistaken for a gasser (sic).”
Large barrels, makeshift manufacturing tools and ingredients are also pictured with what looks like packaged stock ready for shipping.
However, reverse image searches of the pictures show their widespread use in several pages of articles, some going back as much as five years.
According to our searches, one of the earliest online sightings of the images appeared on a chat forum here on September 17, 2015.
It describes a raid in a Pakistani village called Gujranwala where hazardous chemicals, food colouring, and flavourings were used to make black market soft drinks. Four people were reportedly arrested.
Multiple pictures were published and a basic internet search of the terms “food authority Gujranwala fake coke” returned a similar article by Mangobaaz. The Pakistani social news website credits the images to City District Government Gujranwala.
One of the pictures shows two uniformed policemen wearing branded golf shirts. In the same photo, one of the officers is wearing a cap with the Pakistani flag on the side.
The Zambian posts try to link the claim to reported “gas” attacks in the country and corresponding incidents of vigilante violence -- read a detailed report on these issues by AFP Fact Check here.
The same images have been used in other false contexts, for instance to discourage South Africans from buying soft drinks from “Indian and Somali shops”, as described in this debunk by verification website Africa Check