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B.C. couple brutally attacked in Kenya to return home

A Canadian missionary couple recovering from severe injuries sustained in a vicious attack in Kenya will be returning home soon, said their Calgary-area daughter-in-law.
John Bergen, and his wife, Eloise Bergen, are seen resting in a Nairobi Hospital earlier in July after they were attacked at their guarded residence in Kenya. ((Sayyid Azim/Associated Press))
A Canadian missionary couple recovering from severe injuries sustained in a vicious attack in Kenya will be returning home soon, said their daughter-in-law.

John Bergen, 70, was attacked on July 9 by a gang of robbers armed with machetes, suffering broken arms and a skull fracture. His 63-year-old wife Eloise was tied up and sexually assaulted. The couple had moved from Vernon, B.C., to Kenya in March to do missionary work and run programs to feed the poor.

Seven people have been arrested in the attack, including two security guards hired to protect the fenced-in compound where the couple live in the volatile region of Mount Elgon.

Initially, the couple said they wanted to stay in Kenya. But Robin McGeogh, the Bergens' daughter-in-law, told CBC News that they have been convinced to come back to Canada because of extent of their injuries and the better care they can receive at home.

"Canada's got the really good rehab, and the faster you get home and start a good rehab, the faster you can get out and do [things] like … end up back in Kenya," McGeogh said from her home in Chestermere, Alta., east of Calgary.

Her son and two of the Bergen's sons flew over to Kenya after the attacks to be with them.

Plans to visit, pray for accused assailants in jail

The Bergens say they suspect their attackers may have been connected to some security guards they recently fired and may have been seeking revenge. Theft was also likely a motive since the couple's laptop and cash were stolen during the attack. 

McGeogh said her father-in-law may get out of the hospital in Nairobi on Saturday, but that doesn't mean he'll get on the plane the next day.

She said he plans to visit the men charged with the crime in prison to pray and forgive them.

"I know that John and Eloise would not want them to go for, on death row or anything like that, so that might cause even more delay because that might keep him there to protest that," she said.

The couple plans to spend some time in Calgary before returning to Vernon, McGeogh said.

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