The Last Exploding Cowboy

April 14th, 2005 | researchmaterial

Albania’s most wanted man fought off special police and eluded capture for years only to blow himself up while fishing with dynamite, police and newspapers said Friday.

Dubbed the “Last Cowboy” in northern Albania because of his gunfights with the law, Riza Malaj, 34, failed to accurately gauge the length of the fuse as he tried to blow up trout.

Doctors at the Bajram Curri hospital said he had lost both hands, badly hurt his eyes and suffered serious wounds all over his body. His family rejected offers to have him flown to a Tirana hospital where he would have been arrested immediately. Malaj was taken to a hospital in nearby U.N.-governed Kosovo.

He was sentenced in absentia to five years in jail on charges of leading an attack on the Bajram Curri police station last year. Since 2000, warrants have been issued for Malaj’s arrest on charges of willful murder, armed robbery, armed assault and battery of the education directress of the town…


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