BRA leaders argue that Bougainville is ethnically part of the Solomon Islands and has not profited from the extensive mining that has occurred on the island. In 1989, BRA leaders proclaimed Bougainville independent from PNG and established the Bougainville Interim Government (BIG). As a result, the fighting between BRA and the PNG military, with support from Australia, escalated.
In January 1991, the Honiara Declaration was signed under which both sides agreed to a ceasefire. This ceasefire was soon broken and fighting continued. In 1997, Bill Skate of the National Congress Party was elected Prime Minister of PNG and promised that peace in Bougainville would be his highest priority. This led to the signing of a ceasefire agreement and a movement towards peace and the autonomy of Bougainville. As a result, the BRA is no longer actively engaged in fighting, although some of its leaders are involved in the BIG.
Recently ex-members have taken up arms under the Bougainville Freedom Fighters (BFF) and the South Bougainville Freedom Fighters, against the Autonomous Bougainville Government's lack of control of guns in the area.