A long-standing problem suddenly reached its crisis during Obote's absence in Italy where he had medical treatment in September 1982. Tens of thousands of refugees had sought asylum in Uganda hard on the heels of the achievement of independence by neighbouring Rwanda in the 1960s. Obote was always sympathetic towards refugees, and these people had been housed by his government in camps, mainly in Ankole, where they had ethnic links with some of the population of that district. Some, however, had been located in what was to become Rakai District, near the town of Masaka in Buganda. That district, which did not exist as a local government unit at the time of the refugees' arrival, was later created by President Binaisa during his efforts to restructure the local authorities of Uganda, which had been destroyed by Amin. That task, and especially the creation of new districts, had imposed additional burdens upon a government which had difficulty in recruiting enough people competent to function as local officials, and even more difficulty in paying those it managed to employ. As a result, in the early years of Obote's second presidency the area was not well administered.