Bougainville Revolutionary Army (BRA) guerrillas carry a wounded comrade on a bush stretcher ...

Accession Number P04580.090
Collection type Photograph
Object type Black & white - Film original negative 120 safety base
Maker Bohane, Ben
Place made Pacific Islands: Solomon Islands, Bougainville, Central Bougainville
Date made 1994
Conflict Period 1990-1999

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Bougainville Revolutionary Army (BRA) guerrillas carry a wounded comrade on a bush stretcher along a track in the Kongara Mountains, central Bougainville, after the Papua New Guinea Defence Force (PNGDF) fired three mortar shells at the patrol wounding two men. The wounded had to be evacuated to Solomon Islands by boat, running the naval blockade of Bougainville. The Bougainville Panguna gold and copper mine, operated by Conzinc Riotinto Australia, closed in 1989 after conflict over the mine became violent. Landowners were dissatisfied with environmental damages and the social impacts of mining. The Royal Papua New Guinea Constabulary (RPNGC) and the PNG Defence Force (PNGDF) were deployed to the island. Grievances over the mine turned into a general separatist insurgency. The BRA is the main separatist force in Bougainville, declaring independence from Papua New Guinea (PNG) in 1990 after PNG forces withdrew from the country. Following a period of anarchy the PNG forces returned to areas of Bougainville where they had local support. The Bougainville Resistance Force (BRF), aligned with Papua New Guinea (PNG) and the PNG Defence Force, was founded to oppose the BRA. Australia became involved in peacekeeping activities on Bougainville in 1994, when it provided logistic support to the South Pacific Peace Keeping Force (SPPKF) whose role it was to provide a secure environment for the Bougainville Peace Conference.