Pope John Paul II appealed to Colombian rebels Wednesday to release the passengers and crew members of a hijacked Avianca airliner.
    Rebels of the National Liberation Army, or ELN, commandeered the twin-engine turboprop early last week and forced it to land on a remote jungle airstrip.
    ``I want to address an impassioned appeal to the kidnappers so that they stop this unjust act against these people, whose rights have been gravely violated, and free them,'' John Paul said in Spanish during his weekly general audience in St. Peter's Square.

10:36am 22/4/99 / AP


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