KADUNA, Nigeria (AP) — Nigerian officials say machete-wielding thugs have attacked delegates at a meeting of Nigeria’s main opposition coalition, wounding scores in the northern city of Kaduna.

Aisha Umar of the National Electoral Commission says the attackers on Thursday hacked off the arm of a man carrying a ballot box. Scores of people were hospitalized.

She says thugs armed with machetes, knives and clubs also hijacked the ballot boxes for the election of ward leaders for the All Progressives Congress in the state, also called Kaduna. Police made several arrests.

Nigerian elections often involve violence. Africa’s most populous nation is gearing up for February 2015 elections that are expected to present the biggest challenge yet to the People’s Democratic Party, which has governed since 1999, when decades of military rule ended.

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