Two Canadian missionaries brutally beaten in Kenya last year are back in the country facing the men accused of perpetrating the attack.

John and Eloise Bergen were in a courtrooom in the town of  Kitale on Tuesday as the trial began for the nine men believed responsible for the attack in July at their residence in the Mount Elgon region of western Kenya.

Eloise, who was sexually assaulted in the attack, is expected to testify on Tuesday about the nearly hour-long ordeal. Because John was beaten outside in pitch darkness and knocked unconscious in the attack, he can't identify the attackers, CBC's David McGuffin said.

"Both of them seem incredibly strong. They both seem ready to face up to what they have to deal with," McGuffin said, reporting from Kitale.

McGuffin said the trial is expected to be pretty clear cut, with a lot of evidence pointing to the accused. Fingerprints of the suspects were allegedly found on items stolen from the Bergens.

The B.C. couple have spent the past several months touring churches around Canada and the United States talking about their ordeal and their work in Kenya.

The couple were in the country to set up a school and perform development work in the community. They will be in Kenya for about a month and are planning on returning in the summer.

Vicious attack

On July 9, men armed with machetes and clubs invaded the Bergens' compound, first attacking John. He said he was jumped by about four or five armed men who threw him to the ground and started choking him.

The men then moved into the house where they beat and sexually assaulted Eloise before leaving. John was left with a broken jaw, broken arms and badly injured legs. Eloise's face was badly swollen and her jaw broken.

"Given what they went through it's incredible they are back. They say they're happy to be back and they’re happy to be seeing the people that they helped before and remembering the good parts about Kenya," McGuffin said.