Canadian missionaries beaten in Kenya face attackers in court

Calgary, Canada - A Canadian missionary couple viciously beaten this summer while working in Kenya has returned to the east African country to face the men accused of attacking them.

Eloise Bergen took the stand in a Kitale courtroom Tuesday and recalled the brutal July attack, said daughter-in-law Robyn McGough.

Though she hadn't yet spoken Tuesday with Eloise and John Bergen, both from Vernon, B.C., McGough said she received text-message updates of the courthouse drama, including news that a commotion broke out when the nine prisoners were led in, forcing police to bring the courtroom under control.

Eloise Bergen, 66, was punched, choked and cut with machetes, and raped several times during the July 9 home invasion; her husband, John, 70, was beaten, knocked out and left for dead in the bushes outside their Kitale home.

Some of the men implicated in the attack worked as security guards at the couple's home.

The couple returned to Kenya with their son Joshua on Jan. 5.

McGough said they decided to testify against the alleged attackers after threats were made against their friends left behind.

"They went back there to protect those people," she said.

The Bergens, who returned to Canada to recuperate, have spent the past months travelling across North America, talking about their ordeal and fundraising for future missionary projects.

They've since raised enough money to fund their dream of starting an orphanage and plan to stay in Kenya until February to scout out land for the project, McGough said.

"They're amazing people. They're doing really good, despite everything," she said.

"They're looking forward to getting this portion of their life passed, so they can carry on with this work they're so passionate about."

The trial is expected to resume Jan. 27, she said.