The victims were targeted over rumours that human sacrifices were needed to build the Padma Bridge, south of the capital Dhaka. Rumours claimed children were being beheaded as offerings to the $3bn (£2.4bn) project. Vigilante groups in turn lynched people they suspected of kidnappings. None of the victims were involved in child abduction, police chief Javed Patwary told reporters in Dhaka.
Taslima Begum, a single mother of two children aged 11 and four, was among the eight people killed. More than 30 people were reportedly attacked over the rumours. Eight people were arrested over Ms Begum’s murder, and five others are being held in connection with the rumours, according to AFP news agency.
On Saturday, Ms Begum, 42, was beaten to death outside a school in Dhaka by a mob who suspected her of being a child kidnapper.
Locals became suspicious of Ms Begum after she visited the school to enquire about the admission of her children, witnesses told bdnews24.com, a Bangladeshi online newspaper. A teacher who witnessed her murder told the website “we could do nothing against the wave of people” attacking her.
The other victims were a man in his 30s, beaten by a mob in Keraniganj last Thursday, and a woman in her 30s, assaulted by a mob in Savar on Saturday, bdnews24.com reports.